Last week, we brought you our Top-5 Sports Movies and this week we’ll talk about sports video games.
Let’s begin with Number 5:
JR: Double Dribble (NES) – Similar to Tecmo Bowl as far as game play and graphics, this is the first basketball game I owed on the NES. I loved playing with any team and standing backwards on the three-point line and shooting a turn-around to make every shot. Loved this game.
Fred: WCW vs nWo: World Tour (Nintendo 64) – This game barely beat out Nintendo’s Pro Wresting. Published by THQ, this game introduced the amazing “grappling” engine which revolutionized wrestling games.
Sammie: Tiger Woods Golf (PS2) – This game is it for the most realistic golf game out there for those who wish they could get a 64 and below. The weather, clubs, competition and courses are the most realistic and the best.
Adam: Excitebike (NES)- I cannot tell you how many hours of my life I wasted playing this on my NES. It was simple but oh so addictive. Also that fact that I could create my own tracks was unheard of until Excitebike.
Rich: Wii Sports Resort (Wii) – This was the first sports video game I could play with my wife. Frisbee golf is a ton of fun and so is the archery.
JR: NBA 2K12 (PC) – Superb graphics and the Micheal Jordan challenges are my favorite because you can replay some of the most famous games of Jordan’s Career. The realism of this game is unbelievable; actually looks and feels like a real life NBA game.
Fred: NHL 94 (Sega Genesis) – When I wasn’t studying or partying, my freshman year of college was spent playing this game…and I’m not a big hockey fan.
Sammie: NBA Jams (Sega Genesis) – This game of basketball with NBA players, although was not 5-on-5, it was still a lot of fun. The ability to pick two of your favorite NBA players gave you the dynamic-duo you always wanted to see. The ability to also throw in codes and get “Air Dog” or get so hot the ball was nuclear and hear, “He’s on Fire!” was the best!
Adam: Tiger Woods Golf 2003 (PS2) – You could play all the famous courses around the world and it had a killer soundtrack, however, the “Tiger Challenge”(where you could unlock attributes and more courses) coupled with the mini-games was unheard of at the time in this genre.
Rich: Bases Loaded (NES) – One of the first great baseball games (along with RBI Baseball). The ability to customize your roster was unheard of at this time. My cousins and I used to have a blast playing this against each other.
JR: NBA In The Zone (Playstation) – The first game i can remeber that captured the realism and the gameplay of the NBA. The graphics were a 10/10 at the time and there was a secret player on the Chicago Bulls that looked and played exactly like Michael Jordan, but strangely Jordan didn’t appear on many games at the time.
Fred: Madden NFL series (Sega Genesis / PS3 / Xbox / Xbox 360) – It’s the only game I’ve bought every year since it first came out for consoles back in 1990.
Sammie: NFL John Madden 94 (Sega Genesis) – This was an early vision of what is now a million dollar business and game! The abillity to look at the field from a different view gave this game the absolute edge over any other football game then and is still the best for the gridiron.
Adam: MLB 09 “The Show” (PS3) – It had everything that other baseball games had like Home Run Derbies, Franchise modes etc., but in this edition it debuted the “Road to the Show” where you created a minor league player and then lived out your fantasies trying to make it to the show (many other games copied this but nobody does it better).
Rich: NHL 94 (Sega) – The ultimate hockey game. One-timers were introduced and the goalies could not stop “wrap-around” goals – my buddies and I would destroy the computer and each other and routinely score 30 goals a game.
JR: NBA Jams (Nintendo 64) – One of my favorite basketball games of all times. NBA Jams took the imagination of what basketball players could do and took it to another level. My favorite team was the Chicago Bulls when they had Pippen and Tony Kukoc. There were a couple times when my brother completely shattered the backboard with Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks. The high flying dunks while pressing the turbo button was my favorite offense.
Fred: Tecmo Super Bowl (NES) – The successor to Tecmo Bowl, which had a season mode, stat tracking…the works!
Sammie: Tecmo Bowl (NES) – My crew would literally cut of out school early and go to my buddy’s home one block away and play tournaments while it dumped snow outside. Teams had players like Bo Jackson of the Oakland Raiders, Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers, Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears and Lawrence Taylor of the New York kept us going through those Syracuse winters!
Adam: Madden 2005 (PS2) – Insert many of the installments of the series here but I think 2004 was the best to date of this great franchise. It has millions of disciples playing this game the world over. 2005 had things like mini-camp, incredible franchise mode that had radio talk show, newspaper articles. Also this was the year they debuted the “Hit Stick” just awesome!
Rich: Out of the Park Baseball (PC) – for a baseball “stat geek” like myself, the depth of what you can do with OOTP is amazing. Run your entire franchise including minor leagues, handle all drafts/free agents/trades, set your lineups against righties/lefties, create your own league rules and run it for centuries to see who wins, who makes the Hall of Fame, what single-season and career records there are. You can lose yourself for days with the minutia of this game. You can even join leagues on-line that have been running for years. If you’re a baseball fan at all, but especially a stat-geek, this is the game for you!
Finally, the Number 1 Sports Video Game as selected by our writers
JR: Tecmo Bowl (NES) - The first game I enjoyed as a kid. I loved sending Bo Jackson into the endzone and throwing the football from about 80 yards and watching him catch it for a touchdown everytime. Tecmo Bowl was the most popular football game for a limited NES console at the time.
Fred: Tecmo Bowl (NES) – Played this game all night long when I first got it. My thumb was insanely sore and red. I remember being able to feel my heartbeat in my thumb!
Sammie: Mike Tyson’s Punchout (NES) - getting past Sandman was awsome…getting past Mike Tyson was insane.
Adam: Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (NES) – While the game did drop Tyson’s name it had it while I was playing. Obviously it is not exactly an accurate boxing game from a simulation perspective, it did become an instant classic. I don’t know a lot of people that had gaming systems that haven’t played, and loved, Punch Out. It was just awesome!
Rich: Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (NES) – I can still (sort of) remember how to beat Bald Bull. I can still remember trying for hours and hours to get past each of the tougher characters. I can remember the day I finally beat Sandman to make it to Tyson and then just getting destroyed. I didn’t know too many people that could get to Tyson without using a cheat-code, but for those that did it was a tremendous achievement!
There you have it. Out of 25 possible video games to be selected, we selected a total of 16. Six received multiple votes – Tiger Woods Golf series, Madden Football series, NHL 94, Tecmo Bowl, NBA Jams and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out received the most votes total, appearing on four of the five ballots and is clearly one of the best sports video games ever made!
What do you think? Vote in the poll below and please comment with your own Top-5 Sports Video Games of all-time!
About the Author: Rich Stowe
Rich Stowe has written for many sports-based websites over the years including Informative Sports.com, Sports Nickel.com, Dugout Report.com and was a Featured Columnist for MLB and the New York Yankees for Bleacher Report. Rich is a Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is also a self-published author - his book "From Abused Puppy to Beloved Family Member: The Life Story of Jacob the Rottweiler" can be found for the Kindle and in print through amazon.com. Rich is currently serving as the Managing Editor of Sports Unbiased.com